CINCINNATI (Cincinnati Enquirer) - As the national anthem played at Paul Brown Stadium before the Cincinnati Bengals season opener against the Los Angeles Chargers, Bengals and Chargers players stood at midfield and locked arms.
A few Bengals players kneeled on the sideline before the anthem started, but during the song players from both teams were together at midfield.
Thirty minutes before the game started, the Bengals played “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is often referred to as the Black National Anthem. The song was played at every NFL game Sunday.
For this song, both team lined up on opposite goal lines, the entire Bengals roster locked arms while one Bengals player raised his fist in the air.
Before the game on Sunday, Bengals players took the field for pregame warmups wearing black shirts that said “end racism” on the back. On the front, the shirts said, “Injustice against one of us is injustice against all of us.”
Head coach Zac Taylor said Wednesday that it was important for the team to have a unified message during the national anthem.
“Everyone has a different background,” Taylor said Wednesday. “Everyone has a different reasoning for things. We’ve talked in-depth as a team. It was very emotional meetings and we’re not even complete with those yet. We’ll keep those to ourselves, but again, we want to be unified in our approach and supportive of everybody in this organization.”